Every now and then, a video game brushes up against reality with the emotion it stirs. One of those rare moments occurred this morning while I was practicing my banjo and Fortiscule was playing a campaign mission in Call of Duty 4.
Fortiscule was playing the mission in which Marine Sgt. Paul Jackson is helping to rescue the downed Cobra pilot. As he fought his way to her, I played "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot," because it seemed appropriate for a rescue. As he carried her aboard the helicopter and they began to fly away, the scene shifted, and we all know what was coming.
I started playing "Amazing Grace" in a very gentle, sotto voice in a slow 4-4 time. As the nuke detonated and swept away all the life before it. I kept playing, and the song began to seem very poignant as Jackson staggered out of the crashed helicopter and looked around at the devastation in his last moments. As his vision faded to white light, it felt awfully sad, and Fortiscule and I were very quiet.
The images and music together evoked a feeling like the solemn sadness I feel when I see a picture such as the one above. Here are some real Marines, honoring a fallen comrade in Iraq. I found the picture at the Third Army site, which says the photo was taken by Marine Sgt. Jason L. Jensen in Barwanah, Iraq, on Oct. 25, 2006. I certainly don't mean to trivialize this dignified event by comparing it to a video game. The game did provide a reminder, though, of who the real heroes are who answer the call of duty.
Bumbling with buttons
On a lighter note, last night I played several rounds of Halo 3 multiplayer with Batsak. It was the first time I've played Halo in more than a month, because I've mostly played Call of Duty 4 in recent weeks.
Consequently, my Halo man provided some slapstick comedy for Batsak's amusement as I was doing melee attacks when I tried to aim, reloading when I tried to throw grenades, throwing grenades when I tried to kneel, and zooming my scope when I tried to melee attack.
I starting remembering the Halo controls after a few rounds -- my controls are set to "Boxer" configuration because I have such a hard time making timely melee attacks in Halo. But overall, it was a sad night for the Sythbane Squadron in the Halo multiplayer madness.
And here's a mighty Sythbane Squadron Sun Crow Clan salute to Batsak for doing well on his exams!
If you're interested, my official reviews of Mass Effect, Call of Duty 4 , and the video game gift guide compiled by some other Sythbane Squadron members and me are now published on al.com's Techcetera. Please leave comments if you visit, so my bosses will think somebody on the planet reads my reviews!
My thanks to Fartknockker for his recent generous comments about my blog and reviews. Fartknockker is a good comrade and worthy adversary in COD4 and Rainbow Six Vegas, and a member of the no-frags cadre that plays with Big Daddy Ogre. Sythbane Squadron salutes you, noble Ogrerrati.